Home » Antivirus » The danger of image searches on Bing and Google

When was the last time you performed an image search on Bing and Google Images? Did you verify the website the image was hosted on before you downloaded it on your device or smart phone? Unidentified to you, image searches are one of the biggest mode of malware over the Internet.

The danger of image searches on Bing and Google

Security aware Internet users frequently take numerous precautions to avoid phishing pages and infected websites. But, even the most tech savvy individual can get fooled sometimes. Image searches on Bing, Google, or other search engines are known to take users to infected websites that carry malicious programs and drive-by downloads. Unluckily, many people just ignore the risks involved and end up with malware on their devices.

The threat begins when a user performs an image search on Google or Bing (we are discussing of these search engines as they are the most frequently used ones). The search show thumbnails of images and a user clicks on the most reliable one without checking the website that hosts the image. This is quite risky as some websites just contain all types of malware. In addition, when a user seeks a suitable image he/she downloads it on his device and this injects malware into the device.

How search engines are affected?

An infected website generally roams the Internet to find images that are famous. This comprises images of logos, celebrities, symbols and trending memes. The website then optimizes its content to rank higher in an image search. This method is known as Black Hat SEO. So a user searches for an image, finds the infected website’s image in the search results, surf the page and downloads the image to download malware into the device.

Google Search Results

In case of Google search, the website remains hidden behind the image. There is an option on the side that permits the user to “Visit page” but most people do not think visiting the website before saving the image locally.

Bing Search Results

Bing is slightly better as the user can move down to see the full website. But again, this is something that very less people actively perform.

Tips to skip infected image searches

So what can users do to protect themselves from image search result attacks? Here are some useful ways.

  • Always verify the image that hosts the image you are downloading. Explore the page to view it correctly.
  • Keep in mind that seeing the image in a new tab from the search results page is the same as exploring the website.
  • Remember that if a website comes on top in a search results page, it does not simply mean that it is a genuine website. Unsafe websites can also use SEO methods to modify search results.
  • Make sure that your web browser, Operating System and other programs are fully updated. Un-patched programs have the most security holes and are most suspicious.

Update your Antivirus security software regularly. Kaspersky products provide browsing protection that blocks unsecure websites from being displayed. If you are a Mac user, you can also install Kaspersky Total Security for Mac. In case you experience any issue, just contact Kaspersky Technical Support for help. The technicians are present 24*7 for assisting customer by taking remote access.

The next time you perform an image search on Google or Bing or other search bar, make sure that you follow these methods. This will keep you safe and secure from several unseen threats that are fixed in infected search results. A lot of virus reaches people’s device through images that they have regularly searched for and downloaded, so it is vital for Internet users to be aware of this threat.